For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9: 6 NASB)
The Christmas story is never complete without the Easter story because the child in Bethlehem was born to die.
Soren Kierkegaard, pastor, and Christian philosopher, often told this story to his congregation during the Christmas season. There once was a king who had great power and wealth who fell in love with a pauper maiden. He knew he should not love her, him being of royalty and her living in poverty, but nonetheless, he did. He wondered how he could capture her love. Being the sovereign monarch, maybe he should just send his soldiers and whisk her away and declare her Queen. But would she just be acquiescing to his power rather than responding to his love? He thought about showering her with gifts up to half his kingdom, but would she love him for his wealth and not for himself? He pondered his dilemma and decided that he only had one choice. He must give up his kingdom and all his royal possessions and power and become a pauper and live like the one he loved. In the end, sacrificial love found a way and triumphed over, wealth, power, and position; winning the affection of the one he loved.
Jesus could have declared us righteous without dying, but it would not have fulfilled the will or the law of God. He could have forced our obedience to His wishes, but like the King in our story, He wanted to win our love and not usurp it. So the second person of the Godhead in all His glory and majesty, the one who always was, always is, and always will be, invades time and space, and comes to this planet in the form of a peasant child. He maintains this posture of humility as He walks this earth for thirty-three years and He remains obedient to His Father, even to his death, the death on the cross. But this is not the end of the story. Though He walked in meekness, there is always great power in humility, as the grave could not hold Him. He triumphs over that great enigma called death. And because He rose from the dead, the Bible promises, so shall we, who believe in the Son of God.
So the greatest gift this Christmas morning is that great hope we have of eternal salvation. We never again have to fear the tyranny of death. The Bible says in an almost taunting fashion, “Oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting?” (I Corinthians 15:55 NASB) This Christmas morning, whether we have many gifts or only a few under our tree, because of the birth of this baby in Bethlehem, His life, death, and resurrection, we have much for which to be thankful. As someone once said, “deity met humanity,” so that humanity could embrace immortality.
Image used with permission by Microsoft.
Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing